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November 29, 2007
Philippine Coup Plotters Surrender
Military plotters standing trial for a 2003 coup attempt in the Philippines surrendered after walking out the courtroom and holing up in a 5-star hotel in downtown Manila:
"The full force of the law will be meted out without any concession. Additional charges are being prepared to hold accountable those who committed new crimes," Arroyo said. The plotters are standing trial for an incident in 2003 when rebel soldiers took over a mall and demanded the ouster of Philippine President President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. That attempt ended when troops stormed the mall and forced the plotters to surrender.
The military men and their civilian sympathizers — including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona — were later led in groups to police buses. It was not immediately clear if they were being arrested or taken in for questioning. Several journalists also were detained.
"For the safety of everyone, we're going out ... because we cannot live with our conscience if some of you get hurt in the crossfire," Antonio Trillanes, a leader of the dissident officers, told reporters.
Arroyo has been under fire ever since she replaced Joseph Estrada who was ousted in a "people power" style coup in 2001. She was accused of widespread vote fraud in the election of 2004 and her administration has been marred by charges of massive corruption.